The Cannelton Cotton Mill, built between 1849 and 1851 on the banks of the Ohio River, was designed to rival the famous mills of Lowell, Massachusetts and bring together northern industrialists and southern cotton growers. At the time of its construction, the mill was the largest industrial building west of the Alleghenies, with 400 employees (mostly women) capable of producing over 200,000 pounds of cotton batting and four million yards of cotton sheeting a year. During the Civil War, the mill produced material for Union uniforms.
The mill ceased production in 1954. After years of sitting empty, the mill went under a major renovation and reopened in 2003 as the home of seventy senior apartments. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and as a National Historic Landmark in 1991.